This is now my third smart display review in a couple weeks, so I’d like to think I’m becoming an accomplished judge at all this! Now it’s time to look at the Lenovo Smart Display with Google Assistant. So far, I’ve covered the Amazon Echo Show and the Google Home Hub, well now here’s a product that supersedes them all – for a price.
I’ve been testing the $399 10-inch display, while an 8-inch version is available for $299. I’m a firm believer that if you really want one of these products to sit front and centre in your home, then screen real estate is important. I’m a big fan of the Google Home Hub, but honestly at just 7-inches it lacks the presence to occupy your kitchen or main living room. Although those in smaller units or apartments may be just fine with it, I can only use myself as a reference.
The Lenovo does everything the Home Hub does, just on a grander and more aesthetically pleasing way. The screen pops in all its HD glory while the unit looks modern and stylish, with a bamboo backing for the 10-inch model.
I’ve placed our review unit in the kitchen, so all the calendar and weather details are a simple glance away. The step-by-step recipe instructions are very useful indeed, if that’s what you’re after. When I quickly requested a scrambled eggs recipe the Lenovo produced quick, accurate and easy to follow instructions. Of course, being powered by Google Search is a major benefit, one that has seen me gravitate away from Amazon and Alexa.
I actually love casting to this device, even though the 65-inch TV I have is opposite the kitchen. At breakfast time it’s nice to be able to stream Channel 9’s Today show for example via the Freeview FV app from my iPhone, thanks to its built in Chromecast. Sometimes my 16-month old boy doesn’t need the distraction of an enormous screen at breaky time.
Of course, all the usual “Hey Google” commands work as per usual. You can request a YouTube video, control your lights and view compatible cameras like Nest and Arlo. Once again this is simply a Google Home, but this time with a more appropriately sized screen.
The natural bamboo is a beautiful addition, although if you settle for the cheaper 8-inch model you’ll score more of a rubberised backing. The side positioned speaker pumps out a decent level of sound from two speakers, but still someway off a decent Bluetooth speaker but powerful enough to fill a room.
The two-microphone array can actually hear you above a reasonable amount of background noise, up to eight metres away. You may enjoy the Google Duo feature that allows you to video call someone with the same app just using your voice. It allows you to ring from one Lenovo Smart Display to another or to a smartphone. Handy if you have your hands full.
If you don’t like the idea of a camera sitting idle in your home, you can use the Privacy Shutter to block the lens. There’s also a physical mute button for the microphone.
It also serves as an excellent digital photo frame, just download the Google Photos app and create an album that will rotate at a rate you can manually adjust, like 30 seconds or five minutes it’s totally up to you,
Right now, those that purchase any Lenovo Smart Display will score a bonus Google Home Mini valued at $79 RRP. Both models are available for pre-order online via Lenovo.com.au and retailers Harvey Norman, JB-Hi-Fi and Officeworks.